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Feb / Mar 2017
Boy Meets Virtual World

WRITER: Marwan Naaman

Seemingly overnight, Jim Chapman has become one of the Internet’s most popular stars. Good looks and his never-ending enthusiasm for daily life have put him on a short list of males dominating the social media sphere. 

Internet sensation Jim Chapman is a rarity in today’s online universe: a down-to-earth man who achieved international success because of his ability to appeal to various types of people across the globe. When asked about how he gained his incredible popularity, Chapman, in his characteristic humble fashion, says: “It’s really hard to say. I was just lucky!”

But it was certainly more than luck that helped Chapman garner over 2.5 million followers on his eponymous Jim Chapman YouTube channel and upward of a million followers on his second YouTube channel, EveryDayJim. His bite-sized, fun and energetic vlogs have an addictive quality: you watch one and then immediately want to see another to find out what he’s doing, where he’s going and what he’s wearing. It helps that the 29-year-old Brit is easy on the eyes (he’s a model as well) and hangs out at trendy haunts in London, New York and other exciting destinations around the world.

Chapman explains that he has two different YouTube channels because each serves a distinct purpose. “My Jim Chapman channel is more thought out,” he says, adding that the structure is a bit like a story. “There’s a beginning, middle and end.” EveryDayJim, however, is more spontaneous. “I film whatever’s happening in my life. I see a dog while walking, and I immediately get my camera out.”

On the Jim Chapman channel, for example, you’ll get fashion advice through posts like “Wardrobe Tour” or “Top 3 Fashion Buys.” You can also view #bakingwithjim and learn how to make sticky toffee pudding or profiteroles, while in the #askjim section, the young star talks about the craziest thing he’s ever done or explains why he’s not always happy. He also gives his opinions about a big variety of subject matters in the “Reacting to…” section, addressing accusations that he Photoshops his washboard abs (he certainly doesn’t!) or talking about his aversion to foul language.

 

 

His other channel, EveryDayJim, has the same dynamic beat, but here topics are more impulsive. A recent vlog chronicled Chapman’s birthday (he was born on December 27, 1987), which he spent with his family. Another, “An Epic 24 Hours in Paris,” follows Jim on a whirlwind adventure through the City of Light. Asked if the infectious energy that comes across on virtually all of his clips is his trademark, he replies in the affirmative. “Every vlogger has their own rhythm that they fall into. I don’t think about it too much. My energy seems to have become my trademark, but completely accidentally.”

While the majority of Chapman’s followers are in the United Kingdom, he has a sizeable fan base in the Middle East, notably in Dubai, where he says he’s recognized on the street by his fans. “I’ve been to Dubai twice,” he says, “the first time with my wife, who was my girlfriend back then, and the second time to Atlantis. The weather was so beautiful, and Dubai has lots of culture for such a new city.” His Dubai Christmas series (Vlogmas) is particularly entertaining, as he explores the massive beach resort and enjoys restaurants, the lazy river and all the attractions that Atlantis has to offer.

Chapman’s favourite destinations also include the Maldives and South Africa. “It’s such a huge place, with an amazing wine country and safaris, and it’s only an hour’s time difference with the UK.”

Fashion is quite important in Chapman’s dynamic universe. He made GQ UK’s Best Dressed List in 2016 and is considered by many to represent contemporary British men’s style. “Everything I have is made of the basics,” he says, “T-shirt and jeans, a simple kind of classic outfit. It’s lovely to hear that I have style.” He’s even been told that his personal fashion look exerts a strong influence on Middle Eastern men. “I think people take aspects of what I do and make it appropriate for Middle Eastern seasons.”
His love of fashion has led to collaborations with a number of big-name brands, including Burberry, Coach and Tommy Hilfiger, all three of which he features on his various channels. “I work with a brand only if I like them and if I wear them,” he says. And in terms of fashion inspiration, he credits various influences. “I’m very fickle,” he says. “I’m inspired by people, by advertising, by shop windows, by Ryan Gosling. I like smart tailoring that is also casual.”

 

 

In addition to YouTube, Chapman also has a strong presence on other social media channels, especially Instagram (2.3 million followers) and Twitter (over 2 million followers). “Each channel shows a different side of me I suppose,” he says. “You get a 360-degree view on YouTube, while Instagram is sexier. Twitter is my monologue, whatever I’m thinking at the time.”

While success certainly has its rewards, Chapman is still struggling with his enormous popularity, which seems to have exploded overnight. “It’s a learning curve for me,” he says. “It took me a while to come to terms with what my life has become now, but I like to be this sort of voice for the people. It’s quite fulfilling.”

Not surprisingly, the Internet occupies a big part of Chapman’s life, but the young vlogger is also involved with traditional media, most notably TV and radio. “I’m quite lucky that I bridged a gap between mainstream and online media,” he says. “I’ve got a foot in both worlds, and I’d like to maintain that and keep it going. I have more things coming online and in the mainstream world, on TV and radio. It’s really important to meet the needs of people watching mainstream media.”

Another project taking up a lot of Chapman’s time is the new book he’s currently writing. While he can’t reveal much about the book or its topic, he does say it’s a particularly exciting project for him. “This work gives me credibility and opens me up to exciting new possibilities.”

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